Many people think that salvage cars are impossible to insure because they’ve been damaged so severely that they’ve been totaled and written off once in the past. While it’s true that it’s difficult to insure salvage cars with levels of coverage higher than basic liability, it is possible to get higher levels of cover.
In fact, here’s what you need to know about the process of retitling and insuring a rebuilt salvage car in Oklahoma.
Salvaging the Situation
Cars in Oklahoma that sustain enough damage that it would cost more than 60 percent of their value to be repaired can legally be declared salvage under state law. Once this happens, the title of such a car needs to be changed to a “salvage” title if the car is less than ten model years old. This salvage title remains until the car is rebuilt and inspected. Cars older than this can go into and out of salvage status at any time without an inspection.
This inspection is usually at the place of business of the rebuilder, unless it’s in an instance where an owner has done backyard mechanic work on the car. In these circumstances, an Authorization for Travel and Inspection may be granted to the owner that makes it temporarily legal to drive the car to and from the inspection location. During the inspection, a number of things will happen, including:
- Comparing the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) to the one on the ownership record of the car.
- Checking the odometer for any evidence of alteration or rollback.
- The review of the salvage title for the car.
- The review of receipts for all replacement parts that went into the rebuild.
- Checking to ensure the owner has at least liability insurance on the vehicle as a minimum.
If your car passes this rigorous inspection process, you’ll be able to receive a new title that has “rebuilt” branded on it instead of “salvage”. This allows you to drive the car legally in Oklahoma once again.
Getting More than Liability Insurance
The idea that insuring rebuilt salvage cars in Oklahoma would be impossible is of course completely incorrect, as you’re required to have liability insurance on the vehicle before it can pass the inspection.
However, it is true that it is difficult to convince insurance companies to provide higher levels of insurance than basic liability. This doesn’t change even after your salvage vehicle passes its inspection and becomes re-classified as a rebuilt salvage car.
The inspection is much more concerned with ensuring that the car doesn’t make use of undocumented or stolen parts than it is with the relative safety of the vehicle, so insurers don’t have much in the way of assurances that a rebuilt salvage car is safe to drive.
Combine this with the fact that salvage cars have already been totaled in a previous instance – often from being in a bad accident – and you can see why an insurance company wouldn’t want to provide comprehensive or collision coverage to a vehicle with such a checkered past.
Despite this, you still can manage to convince an insurance provider to back your vehicle up with physical damage cover. It takes additional work on the part of you as the owner, but it’s a fairly straightforward process. Depending on the insurer, some will be willing to provide physical damage coverage in exchange for a photographic record of the current condition of the vehicle.
You may be asked to bring the car to a location where a car insurance agent or a mechanic acting on behalf of the company takes several pictures of the vehicle to represent a baseline condition of the car. This photographic record will provide a starting point to determine what kind of damage a car might sustain in an accident and what damage, if any, was present before the accident.
Keep in mind that even if you do find an insurance company willing to work with you, you shouldn’t necessarily expect a competitive price quote. Insurance companies still consider rebuilt salvage cars as posing an increased risk, even if they have passed all the inspections.